Why Zaz­zau emi­rate, emir are unique – Wak­ilin Makaranta

Pro­fes­sor Muham­mad Shafi’u Ab­dul­lahi is the tra­di­tional ti­tle holder of Wak­ilin Makaran­tar Zaz­zau. He is one of the se­nior coun­sel­lors of the Emir of Zaz­zau, Al­haji Shehu Idris. He re­vealed the rea­sons be­hind the promi­nence of the Zaz­zau Emi­rate in Nigeri

Sunday Trust - - NEWS ROYAL - From Isa Sa’idu, Zaria

The Emir of Zaz­zau is said to be the long­est serv­ing ruler in the Zaz­zau Emi­rate, is there any­thing spe­cial about that?

There are many spe­cial things about that. First of all, we give thanks to Al­lah for spar­ing his life. We are also happy to serve un­der the emir as coun­sel­lors.

The spe­cial thing about the long reign of the emir is the num­ber of peo­ple that are pray­ing for him. Be­fore he be­came the emir, he had many well-wish­ers like us. This con­tin­ued up to to­day. An­other spe­cial thing about the emir’s reign is the fact that he has al­ready made his­tory as the first emir that served the emi­rate for over 43 years.

The pre­vi­ous emirs were not blessed with long reign. There­fore, there is ev­ery­thing spe­cial about the reign of the emir.

The de­vel­op­ment that the emi­rate wit­nessed dur­ing this pe­riod is a bless­ing to all of us. Zaz­zau had wit­nessed de­vel­op­ment and growth within this pe­riod. There were de­vel­op­ment of in­dus­tries, schools, es­pe­cially ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions, and even in­flux of peo­ple into Zaria.

Peace and se­cu­rity that are preva­lent in the emi­rate are other things that we have to thank Al­lah for. It is also stat­ing the ob­vi­ous that Zaria has be­come prom­i­nent in Nige­ria, Africa and the world dur­ing this reign.

I think writ­ers should doc­u­ment the progress recorded dur­ing the reign of His High­ness. This would help the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion in run­ning suc­cess­ful regimes.

Res­i­dents of­ten de­scribe the emir as peace-lov­ing and tol­er­ant, is it the same thing with you, his coun­sel­lors?

Usu­ally, lead­ers get the sup­port and prayers of their fol­low­ers if they are han­dling the fol­low­ers with fair­ness. This the emir is do­ing and this is why all of us are al­ways ap­pre­ci­at­ing his pa­tience and style of lead­er­ship. He re­spects all of us, as if we are not his sub­jects.

The emir re­mains the way we knew him. He has re­mained pa­tient and tol­er­ant. The way the peo­ple from out­side per­ceive him is the same way we see him. Our per­cep­tion of the emir is that he is a fa­ther that wants to see the progress of all of us.

What dis­tin­guishes the Zaz­zau Emi­rate from oth­ers?

Zaz­zau Emi­rate is unique be­cause it has rich his­tory. Even Daura that is seen as rich in his­tory can­not com­pare it­self with Zaz­zau. Daura be­came prom­i­nent be­cause of a par­tic­u­lar event that hap­pened at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment. But Zaz­zau is older than most of the emi­rates in the North.

Zaz­zau Emi­rate served and it is still serv­ing as lib­eral emi­rate that brings to­gether peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. There is one emir of Zaz­zau that was nick­named ‘Gunguma.’ He got that name be­cause he was re­garded at that time as the most prom­i­nent and pow­er­ful emir. He got the name Gungu­man Sarakuna be­cause most of the then emi­rates were un­der his reign.

It is from this type of his­tory that you would know that Zaz­zau Emi­rate is dif­fer­ent from other emi­rates. Again, when you study the names of the peo­ple that ruled Zaz­zau, you would find that it has a long his­tory of Is­lamic fol­low­er­ship. Most of the rulers of Zaz­zau, even be­fore the Ji­had of Sheikh Us­man Bin Fo­dio, were Mus­lims, un­like what you have in other places.

Sim­i­larly, when you look at Zaria’s an­cient wall, you would dis­cover that the an­cient Zaria town is much big­ger than most of the emi­rates we have around. For ex­am­ple, you can­not com­pare the an­cient wall of Zaria with that of Kano in term of size. The an­cient wall tells you the an­cient size of a par­tic­u­lar city. There­fore, the an­cient wall of Zaria is more than twice of that of Kano, not to talk of smaller an­cient cities. I think the only emi­rate that may be the peer of Zaria is that of Go­bir.

It amazes to see more than 150 district heads and coun­sel­lors par­tic­i­pat­ing in Zaria’s an­nual dur­bar. How does the emi­rate man­age and or­gan­ise such a large gath­er­ing?

Dur­bar is al­ways an in­ter­est­ing event. It is not all the district heads and coun­sel­lors that par­tic­i­pate. De­spite that how­ever, in ev­ery dur­bar, you can’t find less than 150 en­tourages of district heads and coun­sel­lors par­tic­i­pat­ing. District heads in Zaria are more than 170. An­other in­ter­est­ing thing is that de­spite this num­ber, ac­ci­dents are min­i­mal.

Even Daura that is seen as rich in his­tory can­not com­pare it­self with Zaz­zau. Daura be­came prom­i­nent be­cause of a par­tic­u­lar event that hap­pened at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment. But Zaz­zau is older than most of the emi­rates in the North

It would also sur­prise you to know that, all these district heads pay homage one af­ter the other to the emir dur­ing the dur­bar. From there these district heads re­turn to their base and also re­ceive the homage of their peo­ple. From here you can see the con­nec­tion the emir has with the peo­ple of the grassroots.

Do you think emirs and other tra­di­tional rulers are play­ing the role they sup­posed to play in ad­dress­ing in­se­cu­rity in Nige­ria con­sid­er­ing their di­rect con­tact with the cit­i­zens?

The role that tra­di­tional in­sti­tu­tions play in en­sur­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in Nige­ria can­not be overem­pha­sised. Peo­ple re­spect tra­di­tional rulers. What they need is en­cour­age­ment from gov­ern­ment for them to be dis­charg­ing their roles ef­fec­tively.

Most Nige­ri­ans re­spect, lis­ten and obey the words of tra­di­tional rulers more than the politi­cians. I know most Nige­ri­ans would agree with me on this. For ex­am­ple, Emir of Zaz­zau has been on the throne for over 43 years and up to to­day his peo­ple are not tired of him. They still re­spect and obey him. Some politi­cians hardly fin­ish their first term be­fore peo­ple turn their backs on them.

Tra­di­tional rulers main­tain a strong tie with their peo­ple. There is a tra­di­tion here in Zaria where the emir meets his sub­jects at least once a week, usu­ally on Fri­days. Af­ter the Juma’at prayer, the emir would sit in a spe­cial place in the palace and every­one would be al­lowed to see and even lay down a com­plaint if there is any. You can’t have this type of op­por­tu­nity from a politi­cian, even a lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­man.

Since your as­cen­sion of of­fice as a ti­tle holder in the emi­rate, what can you say is your out­stand­ing achieve­ment or fail­ure?

I think my ef­forts at im­prov­ing the stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion in Zaria would be some­thing that would con­tinue to ex­cite me. Es­tab­lish­ment of schools and as­sist­ing young peo­ple to ac­quire ed­u­ca­tion are things that I am al­ways proud of. The re­cent ap­proval of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment recog­nis­ing the Na­tional Board for Ara­bic and Is­lamic Stud­ies (NBAIS) as an ex­am­i­na­tion body is an­other mile­stone that I will not for­get. I have been with the board for many years and to have nur­tured it to this level is some­thing that I should be proud of.

Pro­fes­sor Muham­mad Shafi’u Ab­dul­lahi, Wak­ilin Makaran­tar Zaz­zau

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